Vandals hit park: Arsonists destroy Bellevue play equipment overnight

More than $60,000 damage to Mudgee’s Bellevue Estate Playground will keep it out of action for several weeks after fire destroyed the site yesterday.
Nanjing Night Net

Arsonists set fire to the playground’s Pirate Ship, destroying the structure along with nearby slide, stairs, cargo net, and the ground-level wooden boundary.

Mid-Western Regional Council and local residents were quick to voice their frustration across social media yesterday as news broke via pictures on several Facebook sites.

Council was beyond disappointed and said acts such as this made it hard to provide quality facilities and services for the community.

On first look at the damage, council’s business manager resources and recreation, Julian Geddes, described the scene as “devastating”.

“Council puts a lot of effort in to maintain parks and playgrounds for the region at about $80,000 per annum and to see vandalism ruin all that makes it disappointing,” he said.

“The playground is closed for the immediate future and we have reported the incident to police.”

The arson is likely to be an insurance claim but there will be added costs to ratepayers. Council will now have to allocate staff to fix the site which may be a timely and expensive process.

“All of the equipment will have to be replaced as it’s clearly not repairable,” Mr Geddes said.

“It’s a shame, because this is a growth area of town and it will be an inconvenience to surrounding families who use the park.”

The playground is about three to four years old and it’s not the first time it has experienced vandalism.

“We were about to repair the shade sails at this playground. They too were destroyed by vandals,” Mr Geddes said.

“This is one of the only facilities of its kind up this end of town. It was pretty popular as it was unique and attracted plenty of children.”

Visitors to the Mudgee Local Area Command’s Facebook page described the incident as “horrible and pointless”.

Anybody who has information about the fire is encouraged to contact Mudgee Police at the station on 6372 8599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

BURNT OFF: Mid-Western Regional Council business manager resources and recreation, Julian Geddes, was devastated to see Bellevue Park destroyed by vandals on Tuesday morning. PHOTO by DARREN SNYDER

Julian Geddes examines the damage at Bellevue Park. PHOTO by DARREN SNYDER

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